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Shower In Full View at Sofitel Le Grand Ducal Luxembourg

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  Site Where: 40, Boulevard d'Avranches, Luxembourg, Luxembourg
August 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM | by | ()

Our travels recently took us to the tiny country of Luxembourg, the only remaining sovereign grand duchy today. Landlocked between Belgium, Germany, and France, and with Grand Duke Henri as its current head of state, Luxembourg has one of the highest Gross Domestic Products (GDP) per capita at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), making it one of the richest countries in the world.

Having recently done our share of cubicle-dreaming over the possibility to win a round-the-world trip with Sofitel Hotels & Resorts and researching our accommodation options, we ended up at the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal, overlooking the old town of Luxembourg and the Pétrusse valley.

Be aware that there are two Sofitels in Luxembourg City; Le Grand Ducal and Europe. The Sofitel Europe is on the Kirchberg Plateau, a business area with lots of offices and European Institutions about 2km from the city centre. If you don't have a reason to be in the area, we'd probably pick the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal for location and ease of access to the old town.


We walked to the hotel from a nearby bus stop, opting for the bus since it costs all of €1.50 ($1.85) from the airport, as opposed to a €35 ($43) taxi. Some sort of road works or construction was ongoing just in front the hotel, so the area around the entrance was a bit messy, but we presume that's temporary. The lobby is quite small (the hotel has 128 rooms), with reception straight ahead as you walk in. We had to wait about five minutes for the one attendant to finish with a small group checking in before us.

Room Reaction
We stayed in an entry-level Classic Room, which was sufficiently spacious for a couple of days' stay. We know peek-a-boo bathrooms are still all the rage in hotels, and it wasn't too long ago we called out another Sofitel for its hedonistic pool, but the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal is totally on board with this trend as well. In fact, we don't really recall a shower that was as smack-bang in the middle of the room as we saw it here.

All in all, be prepared that if you are sharing one of these rooms with someone, you'll be seeing a lot of each other. The entrance to the bathroom to the right of the shower has no door, so getting into the shower discreetly is impossible, making the frosted glass from roughly the waist down a bit moot. Sitting on the right side of the bed, you're about an arm's length away from the shower itself, so you have a full view of anyone in there.

From what we could tell looking at the floor plan on the back of our room door, only the junior suite on our floor seemed to have a lay-out that did not include the voyeuristic shower, so if it isn't your cup of tea, best to call ahead and talk about your options. Rooms at the front of the hotel should offer a view of the city from the shower if you leave the blinds open.

The rain shower itself was great though, plenty spacious and with excellent water pressure. While not as all out as at Andaz Shanghai or citizenM Bankside, a little color is added with the blue and red lights at the bottom. The rest of the bathroom was lovely, although a double vanity could be welcome if there's two of you.

Most importantly though, the hotel has wisely stopped the open bathroom design at the toilet, and hidden it away behind a proper door right as you enter the room.

Amenity Madness
Aside from the king-size bed, there are two benches that are perfect for a suitcase, a flat-screen TV on the wall opposite the bed, a desk with chair, and armchair with footstool. White is the predominant color, with splashes of purple and pink in the chair, cushions, and throw on the bed.

Hotel Facilities & Service
Restaurant "Top Floor" (no points for guessing where it is) offers views from the 8th floor over the city. We can only comment on breakfast, which was perfectly nice, if unsurprisingly expensive at €20 ($25) for a Continental breakfast and €27 ($33) for an American breakfast (including yogurt, fruit, and eggs). Bar Coco Mango next to the restaurant is open from 10.30am to 1am; to our dismay it was a smoking bar, Luxembourg has not joined the non-smoking wave quite yet.

There is a small gym on the second floor, which had a few machines, an extremely limited set of weights, and a Kinesis machine. We went twice and were the only ones there, but if the hotel is full we'd imagine it to be busier during high-traffic morning or evening hours. There is a lobby lounge just right of the entrance, which was empty throughout our time at the hotel, making it a nice spot for a bit of work before we headed to the airport.

We didn't have any extensive interaction with staff during our stay, but service overall was good and everyone we encountered was exceedingly friendly.

What We Liked
The incredibly comfortable bed, all crisp sheets and soft pillows. The separate cubicle for the toilet, with a proper door - we wish more hotels would do this. The Hermès toiletries and the tasteful display of amenities and the flower in the bathroom (we still remember a particularly beautiful vibrantly green bamboo construction in the bathroom at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower years ago). Free Wifi! The complimentary minibar (four bottles of water, juice, and a few cans of soda). Did we mention the free Wifi?

What We Didn't Like
We've had some great stays at Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, Sofitel Lafayette Square in DC, and Sofitel Brussels to name only a few, and have always liked the modern and sophisticated decor. While we certainly didn't hate our room, it just wasn't quite as convincing to us as other new(ly redesigned) Sofitel hotels we've been to. The carpet bordered on fugly and we could have done without the pink tube that posed for a lamp behind the armchair.

The open bathroom design was fine since we were on our own, but had we been staying with a friend we would have been less pleased. We've had the experience of walking into a hotel room with a friend to find the unexpected wall of glass to the bathroom, and hanging around the lobby every time one of you uses the bathroom gets a bit old, especially in a luxury hotel. We're all for innovative room design, but can we at least agree that if a room has twin beds, most guests staying there consequently do not share a bed, and could do without the peek-a-boo bathroom?

Bottom Line
A Classic room at the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal can be had from about €130 ($160) on a quiet weekend, but rates go up significantly during the week or if a major business event is in town.

[Images: HotelChatter]

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